A new photographic exhibition titled Shipwreck (On the Isle of Stygian Dreams) by visual artist Ivan McMahon will be on display at the Town Hall Theatre in Galway from 18th November through 14th December 2023.
The exhibition launch will take place at 2:30pm on Saturday, 18th November. The exhibition will feature 17 large, framed, limited edition (1/10) photographic prints.
McMahon grew up along the west coast of Ireland, holding a lifelong love and fascination with the exposed and rugged landscape. For many years he has explored the transcendent terrain that is sculpted by the North Atlantic. McMahon said; "I study its tones and textures to glean a sense of its fundamental essence; the primordial energy that emanates from its crags and fissures. I endeavour to understand how it can act as an archive of lost human memory, dreams and emotions. I strive to comprehend how it has moulded the psyche of those who once inhabited this haunting landscape and how it can still influence those who continue to do so."
The exhibition features images of the wild, dramatic landscape of the west coast of Ireland. Speaking about the photographs, McMahon explained; "The ocean holds a deeply ingrained place in our being, its primordial energy and archetypal symbolism integrating our conscious and unconscious lives. It speaks to us on a fundamental level. We are drawn to its potency, feeling awe, fascination, fear and terror, a sense of ‘Other’ which affects a psychological transcendence. Our convictions and our fears are folded into and encapsulated in the rhythm of the ocean’s dark expansive depths. Like the River Styx, that boundary which separates the living from the dead, our ephemeral dreams flow and morph from base instinct, primal, carnal and violent into fleeting cerebral concepts of the human condition and existence. Answers we search for in our waking lives are presented in vivid clarity then whisked away before they can be clearly formulated, like waves crashing on a rocky shore, solid and energetic then wiped out in an instant. Yet somehow, washed in the spume of fragmented dreams our being resonates and grows storing a repository of febrile emotion and abstract thought that solidifies and forms the core of our spirit as we navigate the turbulent waters of our existence."
Speaking about the methodology of his work, McMahon said; "Instead of trying to find an image to suit a pre-ordained intent, each image as I study it reveals its true meaning. I let the senses unfurl, and the lens becomes a window into an alternative reality, a different plain on which to explore new ways to experience and contemplate human existence. This is not an arbitrary process – the picture's meaning has always been there, embedded in the image, an evident purpose waiting to be revealed. By ascribing a cinematic narrative, utilising a montage approach to each project to draw inferences to the overall theme, I also want to invite the viewer to engage on a subjective level, to let the material speak to them. I want to evoke a personal response in order for the viewer to explore their own intimate memories; a source of inestimable perspicacity."
McMahon has been working in the film and television industry for over thirty years both at home and abroad. He has worked on many well-known national and international feature films and TV Dramas as well as having written, produced and directed a number of short films and online dramas that have been screened from Washington DC to Tehran and the Aran Islands in-between.
Ivan has tutored in scriptwriting, visual storytelling and alternative narrative at the National University of Ireland, Galway.
Shipwreck (On the Isle of Stygian Dreams) will be on display at the Town Hall Theatre from November 18th until December 14th, 2023.Published on Updated on